Im a Woods watcher


AKRON, Ohio – I walked 18 holes Thursday with Tiger Woods. Sergio Garcia and Carl Petterson were in the group but most were there to watch the most recognizable athlete in the world.

Tiger missed many of Firestone's tiny fairways, missed a few greens and missed a few makeable putts. However, the missed shots aren’t the story with Tiger. It's the ones he consistently pulls off that continually please his allegiance of fans. And it's his fans who I most enjoy watching and listening to –  most with stories of what Tiger means to them.

The makeup of a typical Tiger gallery is diverse. Children as young as 4 are held on their father's shoulders in hopes of catching a glimpse of the guy they see on all their favorite commercials. Men and women in motorized wheelchairs come out to grab the occasional view of the Great One. And the ethnicity of the spectators is as varied as the generations.

Golf, like Tiger, transcends many barriers. The people following Tiger are quite simply fans of the game. At times when we're told how difficult things are in our world, people find an escape in venturing out to watch grown men hit shots that they've dreamed about since the first time their fathers put a sawed-off club in their hands. And nobody does it better than Tiger.

But the most refreshing part of watching this recurring spectacle is that it's not his star-power that brings people out, rather, it's his golfing prowess. Each time I'm able to be around him, I'm more thankful that I get the chance to be around them.